Why Do I Ride?
Now there’s the $20,000 question. I’ve ridden for so long that it's just something I do. So today I took the time to stop and analyze the real reasons behind why I put my feet in the stirrups a few days a week.
I've posted before about why I board my horse, but why I choose to ride as opposed to some other pursuit is a different question.
So why do I ride?
The obvious reason for me at this point in my life has to do with exercise. I find riding, especially dressage on my particular horse, to be very good exercise. There have been a lot of times in the past few years that I’ve considered quitting, but the ultimate decision came down to exercise. I don’t want to be one of those middle-aged women who rarely ventures outside when the weather is bad. In fact, I’ve put on twenty pounds this past year, which I attribute to the fact that I have gone from riding 5-6 days a week to only riding 2-3 days a week.
Of course, if I’m only looking to exercise, there are cheaper ways to do that. I could get a membership to a gym or I could start jogging or swimming, etc. Instead, I’ve chosen to spend my free time with an animal. Maybe that’s the difference? Maybe that’s why I ride?
Riding involves interaction with another living being. It's a cooperative partnership. When all goes well, it's one of the greatest natural highs on earth. There's not another feeling on earth like riding a horse who's happily going forward, light and round. I had a ride like that last week. No pulling, no shying, no falling on the forehand and going faster. Instead, the horse and I seemed to be in sync. When that happens riding is easy, effortless, and infinitely rewarding. There was this tenuous thread connecting us, easily broken, simple and complete, needing only the slightest movements from my body and subtle thoughts in my mind.
A leisurely trail ride through the woods on a brisk fall day would feel just as good. The sun shining through the trees, leaves crunching under the horse's hooves, geese honking as they head south for the winter. The feeling of my horse underneath me, relaxed and happy to be out of the arena. Just me, my horse, and nature. I've had moments like that, and they're priceless.
How about the perfect ride at a show? Usually I know when I ride into the ring that it'll be a good ride. Everything just comes together and one movement flows into the next effortlessly. All I do is sit and enjoy, not wanting to do anything to disturb the harmony between my horse and me.
So why do I ride? For moments like those.